Introducing Patent Family Citations in PlumX Metrics

Patents are one of 3 types of metrics currently in PlumX that can demonstrate societal impact – how a piece of research impacts an economy, culture, public policy, health, or the environment. Patents, in particular, can demonstrate economic impact.

In PlumX, we’ve added a new type of patent citation – Patent Family Citations. What is a patent family? A patent family contains the same or similar patents or may just be a single patent. There are two basic types of patent families, simple and extended. A simple patent family covers the same technology, while an extended patent family includes patents that are similar in technical content, but not necessarily the same. Our patent families are extended.

So why count the patent family as a single citation versus each member of the family as a citation? PlumX determined that counting each member of a patent family as a single citation artificially inflates counts. Counting the patent family is a more appropriate way to demonstrate this impact.

Our patent family citations contain patents that cite research output. We display this on the PlumX artifact page separate from patents that cite other patents (which are listed as Patent Citations).

On the PlumX artifact page under the citations category, in addition to citation indexes, patent, policy and clinical citations, you’ll now see patent family citations. Clicking on the patent families link in the overview or highlights areas of the page will display the primary patent(s) in each related patent family. If the patent family includes multiple patents, you can click on the primary patent to see all the patents in the family.

We currently display patents in patent families from five organizations:

• European Patent Office (EPO)
• World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
• Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (IPO)
• United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
• Japan Patent Office (JPO)

patent family citations